Marketing Planning – Don’t Do SWOT

SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) is a well-liked framework for creating a business plan. A Google seek for “SWOT” and “making plans” became up virtually 93,000 hits (August 2004), maximum all of which laud the usage of SWOT. Some scholars have stated that it’s the maximum vital factor they realized on the Wharton School.

Although SWOT is promoted as an invaluable method in a large number of advertising and marketing texts, it’s not universally praised: One knowledgeable stated that he most popular to consider SWOT as a “Significant Waste of Time.”

The downside with SWOT is extra severe than the truth that it wastes time. Because it mixes concept technology with analysis, it’s prone to cut back the variability of methods which might be regarded as. In addition, individuals who use SWOT would possibly conclude that they’ve performed an good enough task of making plans and forget about such smart issues as defining the company’s goals or calculating ROI for change methods. I’ve seen this when trade faculty scholars use SWOT on circumstances.

What does the proof say? Perhaps probably the most notable indication is that I’ve been not able to seek out any proof to make stronger the usage of SWOT.

Two research have tested SWOT. Menon et al. (1999) requested 212 managers from Fortune 1000 corporations about fresh advertising and marketing methods carried out of their corporations. The findings confirmed that SWOT harmed efficiency. When Hill and Westbrook (1997) tested the usage of SWOT by means of 20 corporations in the United Kingdom in 1993-94, they concluded that the method used to be so unsuitable that it used to be time for a “product recall.”

One suggest of SWOT requested: if no longer SWOT, then what? Borrowing from company strategic making plans literature, a better choice for planners is to practice a proper written procedure to:

  1. Set goals
  2. Generate selection methods
  3. Evaluate selection methods
  4. Monitor effects
  5. Gain dedication some of the stakeholders throughout each and every step of this procedure.

I describe this 5-step process in Armstrong (1982). Evidence at the worth of this making plans procedure, received from 28 validation research (summarized in Armstrong 1990), confirmed that it led to raised company efficiency:

  • 20 research discovered upper efficiency with formal making plans
  • Five discovered no distinction
  • Three discovered formal making plans to be unfavourable

This make stronger used to be received despite the fact that the formal making plans within the research most often used most effective one of the crucial steps. Furthermore, the stairs have been continuously poorly carried out and the prerequisites weren’t all the time ultimate for formal making plans.

Given the proof, SWOT isn’t justified underneath any cases. Instead, use the great 5-step making plans process.


Armstrong, J. S. (1982) “The Value of Formal Planning for Strategic Decisions,” Strategic Management Journal, 3, 197-211.

Armstrong, J. S. (1990), “Review of Corporate Strategic Planning,” Journal of Marketing, 54, 114-119.

Hill, T. & R. Westbrook (1997), “SWOT Analysis: It’s Time for a Product Recall,” Long Range Planning, 30, No. 1, 46-52.

Menon, A. et al. (1999), “Antecedents and Consequences of Marketing Strategy Making,” Journal of Marketing, 63, 18-40.